What Ingestion Methods Of Cannabis Work Best For Back Pain
Really any type of dosage form can be effective for back pain. Deciding which form is best for you is largely dependent on personal preference. The real difference between inhaled and ingested forms of medical cannabis, is that inhaled forms work faster, but wear off sooner, while ingested forms take 30 min-1 hour to take effect, but last anywhere from 4-6 hours.
The Challenge Of Effective Pain Management Medical Marijuana For Pain
For some patients with degenerative disc disease, spinal canal stenosis, other common problems associated with overuse and ageing, or whove had unsuccessful or only partly successful back surgery, the long-term management of their back and nerve pain can be a real challenge.
The major active ingredients of cannabis are called cannabinoids. THC and CBD oil are the best-known cannabinoids. They have been isolated or synthesised to make medicinal cannabis. CBD oil has a known anti-inflammatory affect and is useful in the treatment of nerve pain.
In some pain studies and for some patients, CBD oil seems to work best when combined with a small amount of THC. This kind of formula relieves pain without any of the cognitive side effectsdisorientation, confusionwhich are possible with THC alone. An example of this is sold under the brand name Sativex.
Cannabis And Central Pain
Central pain has recently emerged as a catch-all term for types of pain that arise from dysfunction to the nervous system. While sometimes central pain can result from injury, it often arises in the absence of any known cause. As a result, it can be particularly hard to treat. Fibromyalgia is a classic example of central pain which arises from dysfunction in the way pain signals make their way to the brain and are processed. Like other types of central pain, the origin of fibromyalgia is largely unknown.
Because of the diversity in central pain, there are few studies investigating the benefits of cannabis in this pain category. However, the most well-established benefits of cannabis in treating central pain is for fibromyalgia. In a study of 26 fibromyalgia patients, all reported benefits from cannabis use and half stopped taking their other medications. This suggests that cannabis can provide much-needed relief for those with fibromyalgia and possibly other central pain conditions of unknown origin.
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Heres Where Medical Marijuana Gets Complicated
Much of the research into medical marijuana has been preliminary to date but the predominant pathway for the medicinal effects of marijuana seem to be its interaction with the bodys endocannabinoid system. The system is also named for the plants naturally occurring cannabinoids, the two core ones being: cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol .
To further explain, this system modulates your bodys desire to stay balanced and stable, known as homeostasis, and plays an important role in neuronal and immune cell function, both of which are important parts of pain perception. There are three parts of the endocannabinoid system:
Cannabinoid receptors are located throughout your body and help determine how cannabinoids affect you.
CB1 receptors are found predominantly in your central nervous system and affect a persons pain experience. CB1 receptors also play a role in the signaling of pain to the brain via the spinal cord. On a physiological level, CB1 receptors can affect your emotions, memory, executive functioning, and reward. CB1 is the receptor predominantly responsible for the psychotropic effects of cannabis.9
Why Not Marijuana To Treat Pain
- Less Effective: For those with moderate to severe pain, marijuana may not offer the relief you need. Some healthcare providers argue that there isnt a direct link between marijuana and measurable pain relief. However, this is disputed by other studies who have found that
- Stigma: Historically, marijuana has been thought of as a harmful, illegal drug. Although things are rapidly changing , some people are not comfortable with it the idea of using a formerly illegal street drug to treat symptoms.
- Not Covered: For many care providers and insurance providers, medical marijuana cannot be directly prescribed. It can be an out-of-pocket expense, not covered by insurance. To get medical marijuana, many bypass medical institutions and go to a dispensary. This limits access and some patients are uncomfortable stepping outside of formal a medical setting.
Where is Marijuana Legal?
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Pain And Muscle Spasms
With more states now allowing medical marijuana, researchers can begin to see more data about cannabis and its ability to treat pain. In a study, participants reported a 45 percent reduction in the intensity of their pain within 20 minutes of inhaling the treatment. Cannabis is particularly helpful for muscle spasm of the back.
In many states, muscle spasms are an approved condition for the use of medical marijuana. North Dakota has approved chronic back pain as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana use.
The Evidence For Cannabis And Back Pain Relief
Anecdotal instances of marijuana helping to relieve back pain are widespread, which is excellent news and it cannot be discounted.
However, it is always key to have controlled studies and scientific evidence to back up health claims.
As we alluded to earlier, there have been a number of studies that seem to back up the claims for cannabis and back pain treatments. Below, is a list of a few studies that may support the claims of using medical cannabis for back pain.
This 2004 study took 34 individuals that suffered from chronic pain, which was resistant to treatment. The participants were given different strains of marijuana and observed over a 12-week period.
The results showed some significant reduction in chronic pain symptoms and found that extracts containing THC were most effective to relieve pain.
Pain was also significantly decreased in this study from 2011 that looked at the cannabinoid-opioid interaction in chronic pain.
The study concluded that vaporized cannabis did, in fact, elicit an analgesic, pain-relieving effect.
Finally, a clinical review was undertaken in 2015 by Kevin P. Hill, MD to compare the results from 6 clinical trials and their findings on the effectiveness of marijuana to relieve chronic pain.
The following quote was copied from the findings section of the review:
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What Are Side Effects Of Marijuana For Back Pain
While medical marijuana is very effective at treating back pain, there is the potential of experiencing side effects. They are usually mild and go away once your treatment wears off. In any event, itâs good to know what they are, so you can sit down with your doctor to discuss them. There are certain side effects each patient should know about the use of marijuana for back pain, or any other pain. The side effects are usually mild and can go way as a treatment wears off. Patient should discuss the side effects with their doctor. Some of the common side effects are as follows:
Redness of Eyes: Commonly patients will experience redness of eyes. This is not harmful and can be treated by using eye drops such as Visine.
Short-term memory loss: This is a temporary side effect and does go away as the treatment wears off. Some patients may be more susceptible to it than the others.
Heightened sensory perception: This side effect can impact a patient’s site, hearing, sense of taste and smell.
Fatigue: This side effect is common with high THC strains. One can balance it with the use of low THC strains.
Cannabis And Neuropathic Pain
Neuropathic pain is different from nociceptive pain in that arises from damage to the bodys nervous system. And its quite common. Neuropathic pain affects 7-10% of the population and can result from forceful injury, pinching, or stabbing that damages nerves. Disease is also a common underlying cause of neuropathic pain. For example, in multiple sclerosis, the insulation of nerve cells breaks down which leads to neuropathic pain. Other diseases that cause neuropathic pain include Parkinsons disease, HIV, diabetes, and shingles, to name a few. Chemotherapy is an additional common cause of neuropathic pain due to its destructive effects on many types of cells in the body.
Like with nociceptive pain, over-activation of CB1 receptors with THC can eventually lead to weaker effects. Therefore, balanced THC and CBD cannabis would be more efficacious in the long-term.
Neuropathic pain is notoriously difficult to treat because it doesnt result from inflammation that can be targeted by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. However, whether its due to disease, amputation, or chemotherapy, many are turning to cannabis for the treatment of chronic neuropathic pain. Cannabis is turning out to be a promising treatment option, and its benefits have been observed in both cancer and non-cancer-related forms of neuropathic pain across rodent models and human clinical studies.
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Benefits Of Marijuana Vs Prescription Pain Medication
Is your physician withholding pain medication or drastically cutting down your dose? Heres why.
Healthcare providers and governing health care bodies are cracking down on opioid and narcotic prescription pain medication for patients. Physicians are lowering doses of narcotic pain medication, drastically cutting down pill counts, and in some cases refusing to prescribe opioids or turning away chronic pain patients. The situation, like the opioid crisis, is very complicated. For someone with back pain who may be tapering off prescription pain medication , marijuana may be a great alternative or supplementary medication to use with pain medication.
Note: Before mixing prescription or over-the-counter medication with marijuana, always speak with your physician or healthcare provider.
Some Key Benefits to Marijuana vs. Prescription Pain Medication
Conventional Treatments For Back Pain
Recommended treatments to relieve back pain depend on how long the pain lasts. These include massage, physical or chiropractic therapy, over-the-counter medications like Tylenol or Advil, and prescription medications, including opioid painkillers.
Exercise, proper diet, and hot and cold packs can also help. Resting in bed is not usually recommended. Surgery is a last resort and depends on the cause of the back pain.
In addition to these treatments, some doctors are now considering medical marijuana for managing symptoms of back pain.
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How Can People Find A High
Because mass-marketed CBD and hemp oils and other products are not approved or regulated by the FDA, it can be challenging to know whether a product is safe or actually contains the ingredients promised on the label. Products containing synthetic cannabinoids are especially concerning, as they have been linked to serious complications.
To narrow the field, researchers recommend you ask the following questions before buying¹:
Does it meet quality standards outlined by a credible certification body, such as Current Good Manufacturing Practices , European Union , or Science Foundation International?
Does the manufacturer report adverse events tied to its products?
Is the product certified organic?
Does the product undergo laboratory testing to confirm THC levels?
The Benefits Of Medical Marijuana For Back Pain
The key to the effectiveness of marijuana lies in its cannabinoids. Both TCH and CBD play a critical role in how marijuana is taken in by the bodys systems. THC, the psychoactive element of marijuana, boosts moods and energizes, which brings on feelings of bliss and happiness. Therefore, those struggling with back pain-related depression will benefit from THCs positive properties.
Likewise, CBD oil, which is not psychoactive, relieves physical pain and discomfort. And when THC and CBD work together, they achieve a synergy known as the entourage effect, which successfully alleviates pain and inflammation while increasing relaxation and feelings of happiness and well-being. Overall, medical marijuana is not a one-size-fits-all type of treatment. The trick is to find the right balance and combination in individual strains of medical marijuana that will best suit each patients unique endocannabinoid system
How patients consume their medical marijuana also makes a huge difference in the effectiveness of their treatment. While inhaled or vaporized marijuana may provide more immediate results, edibles may prove more effective and appropriate for those suffering from chronic pain that lasts all day. Edibles often provide a slow onset of relief that tends to be longer lasting but not as acute.
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Cannabis And Nociceptive Pain
Nociceptive pain results from tissue damage. It is subjectively described as sharp, aching, or throbbing pain that follows physical damage. When you get injured, the damaged tissues recruit numerous inflammatory and immune cells to repair the damage. These cells release proteins and chemicals that activate receptors on nerves that make their way into the spinal cord and up to the brain, causing the sensation of pain.
To retain pain-relieving efficacy while reducing tolerance risk, one should consider balanced THC and CBD products for long-term pain treatment.
Nociceptive pain can be weakened by reducing the pain signals at the site of injury by blocking the inflammatory process itself or the signals they elicit. Another strategy is to dampen their effects as they make their way up the spinal cord to the brain. Cannabis can target both of these processes to reduce pain.
THC can modulate pain at the level of spinal cord and brain by directly activating CB1 receptors, and indirectly by increasing opioid receptor activation . CBD similarly impacts pain processing by increasing levels of the endogenous cannabinoid, anandamide, which acts like THC to activate CB1 receptors.
How To Treat Pain With Medical Marijuana
If youre currently struggling with chronic pain, CannaMD can help. Find out for free if you qualify for medical marijuana treatment.
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What Are Herniated Or Bulging Discs
Soft discs located between the vertebrae in the spine act as shock absorbers. When they get damaged or bulge they can impinge on nerves and cause acute pain.
As the body ages, wear and tear on spinal discs can lose the fluid that makes them spongy and pliable. The discs slowly start to degenerate and they gradually become harder and flatter. Many spinal issues start in early adulthood, although it generally makes an appearance between the ages of 35-50.
These conditions are known as a herniated disc, ruptured disc, slipped disc, or bulging disc. However, there is a subtle difference between a herniated disc and a bulging disc. A herniated disc is far more likely to incur inflammation and pain. Fluid leakage and extreme protrusion cause irritation and compression of nerve roots.
Study #: The Relationship Between Dose And Pain Relief Is An Inverted U
There are pain studies that can be done directly in healthy humans instead of patients who already have existing pain. These are called Human Experimental Models of Pain. The abbreviation for this is HEMP. I swear Im not making this shit up.
The HEMP used in the first study is the intradermal capsaicin model. You know when you bite into a chili pepper and your mouth is on fire? Thats because of a molecule in the chili called capsaicin. Imagine purifying this molecule and injected it directly into your skin. Thats the intradermal capsaicin model.
Capsaicin causes an acute pain at the injection site, but also activates the sensitization mechanisms to cause hyperalgesia in surrounding skin areas. This makes it a good model to study the pain associated with these processes.
The first study used the capsaicin model to look at analgesia from marijuana cigarettes. Subjects received marijuana cigarettes with 0% , 2% , 4%, or 8% THC. Capsaicin was injected into the forearm skin 45 min after smoking the marijuana cigarettes and subjects pain was assessed. Here are the results:
- The low THC dose did not affect pain scores. The THC dose was probably too low to be active.
- The medium THC dose lowered pain scores, demonstrating the analgesic effects of cannabis.
- The high THC dose significantly increased pain scores. What the fuck!?
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People Tell Us Why They Smoke Weed For Chronic Illness And How It Helps
Were a long way from thinking weed is just about getting high.
According to Project CBD, cannabidoil can be therapeutic for many conditions, including acne, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, fibromyalgia, MS, spinal cord injury and more.
Another study suggests that small doses of smoked cannabis may improve pain, mood and sleep in some patients with chronic pain.
As its 4/20 today, we spoke to people who smoke weed to manage their chronic pain. These people have a range of conditions which they use cannabis to self-medicate.
We asked them why they use it, how it helps and what theyd like others to know about smoking weed to help with chronic illness.
27-year-old Madeline started smoking weed when she was going through a bad breakup because it helped her mood.
She would only smoke socially, and would never buy marijuana herself. But after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, she started smoking it to reduce her symptoms, such as severe stomach pain and joint pain caused by the inflammation in her bowel.
She says her UC, which is a form of inflammatory bowel disease, can sometimes give her trouble walking, and the weed gives her more mobility, while also calming her mind and making her less anxious.
She says smoking really helped her madly intense cramps.